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I keep non rechargeable batteries on hand for my emergency stash, and keep the rechargeables for every day use. This is because rechargeables, while they do save a lot of money on buying batteries, don't last as long as non rechargeables. So in my emergency stash I keep 3 sets of batteries for each Item that takes batteries. When I buy them, I label the package with the month and date bought. Then once a month I replace the batteries for one item. For instance:
In January and February, I replace the 3 sets of batteries for my battery powered TV.
In March, I replace them for my radios.
In April and May, for my lanterns.
In June, for my push lights.
In July, for my flash lights
In August, for my kerosene heaters (for heat in winter)
In September, for my fans (for cooling in summer)
I would add non prescription meds, dry milk powder, baby wipes, a windup clock, an extra can opener for the pet food, disposable dishes, cups and flatware, straws, paper towels and trash bags.
For the battery operated devices a package of emery boards. Emery boards you say? Yes, I used to get all my Hints from Heloise and the best one I ever got was "Keep an Emery board with your Flashlight to clean the Contacts." When the light (or radio sound) starts to fade, remove the batteries and scrub them with an emery board. Bingo! Let there be Light! It works several times. If you're outside a rock, cement, a tree, anything scratchy will do the job. It also helps to scrape the places where the batteries connect.
I got through Hurricane Kate on one set of D batteries by scrubbing them on a terry cloth shirt I was wearing. We had 46 hours with no power, one flashlight, and one set of batteries. It's the best hint I ever got and I pass it on to everyone I can as we can't all afford rechargeable batteries and certainly not for every battery operated device we own.
It works on the button batteries too but they only have one contact point. This has saved us a lot of money over the years and kept a lot of batteries out of the trash before their time.
Of course don't leave batteries in any device you don't use regularly. Naturally some batteries are dead. Toss them if they look remotely corroded.
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